Pierre-Louis Loubet feels he needs to become a better mechanic if he is to excel in the World Rally Championship.
There have been flashes of brilliance – like leading in Portugal – but Loubet’s first full season as a factory Rally1 driver has been a difficult affair, plagued by small errors and misfortune aboard his M-Sport Ford.
After seven of the 13 rounds, the Frenchman lies 10th in the world championship with a best finish of seventh.
He has previously spoken about the need to keep his concentration once he’s made a mistake as an area to improve, but after the recent Safari Rally Kenya Loubet has also pinpointed his skills as a mechanic.
On the penultimate stage, Loubet revealed at stage-end that an alarm had flashed on his Puma Rally1’s dashboard which forced him to flick the car from stage back to road mode – costing him significant performance.
It transpired to be a turbo pressure problem which Loubet continued to suffer from on the powerstage.
But Loubet believes if his mechanical skills were sharper, he could potentially have cured the issue before the points-paying test.
“Unfortunately before the powerstage we had a turbo issue, so [it was] not possible to do the powerstage [competitively],” Loubet told DirtFish.
“So that was a lot of frustration because we were on very good road position for the powerstage.
“[I think I have] a bit of work to be able to do mechanics on some small stuff because I think I was able to avoid the problem before the powerstage,” he added.
“But yeah, we take too much time to find the problem. So that’s it.
“Well I say that but I’m not sure if it was possible to find [the problem] faster but yeah, some small stuff like that.”
WRC drivers are often called into emergency repairs between stages, without physical assistance of their mechanics back in the service park.
Takamoto Katsuta for example managed to attend to a broken steering arm on his Toyota on Friday morning in Kenya.
Loubet though insists he is “positive” about his progress this year, but is aware he needs to start achieving some bigger results.
“There’s a learning process [but] that learning process was last year,” he said.
“Now we have to do some better results. We need it.”